Coffee and food stuffs are, more often than not, a match made in sensory heaven. And while high-end restaurants are increasingly teaming up with specialty coffee roasters for tastings, dinners, and degustation bonanzas, we thought we'd put together a list of our favorite daily coffee & food pairings. Get snacking.
8. Beignets – Oh good lord, do we love Cafe Du Monde, the New Orleanian temple to laten-night milky coffee and fried powder sugar dough. Our May 2011 visit still haunts the sugary dreams of Your Sprudge Editors, who long, deep in their bones, to return to #MamaNOLA someday soon. Arguably the greatest coffee and food pairing, owing to magic that happens whilst dunking your beignet into all that urn-brewed chicory drip. Good right down to the last sugar-sludge sip!
7. Coffee Cake – So focused is this foodstuff on being paired with coffee, you can't order one without implicitly mentioning the other. You've probably got your own desert (or is it dessert?) island slice of coffee cake in mind, but for us, our favorite is made by the fine folks at Glo's Cafe in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Not too flakey, not too sweet, perfectly glutenous and available at 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
6. Plain cake donut – You can dunk any donut, really, but there's perhaps none more satisfying to merge with coffee than the good old fashioned plain cake. Our personal favorite? You can't go wrong with a trip to Randy's Donuts in Los Angeles, a mid-century architectural icon that was the basis for “Lard Lad” donuts on The Simpsons. As if to beckon all who visit, Randy's much-loved giant donut sign is clearly visible on descent into LAX.
5. Bran muffin – You need your bran. You need your fiber. Plus, bran muffins can be super delicious! Random Order in NE Portland makes one with cardamom, coconut, raspberries and nutmeg. It's good to be happy AND healthy!
4. Some nice toast – Seeing as how we're in the Fourth Wave of Toast, it's only natural to mention this delightful pairing. We love the toast service at places like The Mill and Trouble, both in San Francisco, as well as the toastables at Toby's Estate in Brooklyn and Arabica Lounge, a Stumptown account in Seattle. So much toast, so little time.
3. Tim Tams – A practice so popular it's got its own Wiki, in which one chomps off either end of a Tim Tam chocolate biscuit, then sucks coffee through its wafered core to achieve the desired effect. Our advice to you is, if you're headed to Melbourne in search of the TTS, make sure the nice cafe you visit is aware that you're doing so with a sense of irony. Irony makes these things ok.
2. The New York City Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich – It's the thing former New Yorkers miss most about the city, and something that frequent visitors dream about from wherevr they may be. No matter where you are in NYC — from the tiniest blocks of Manhattan to the dingiest sublets of Queens — you're never more than a few moments away from a bodega, or even better, a stand-alone sidewalk food cart, where a no-nonsense short order cook can whip you up the perfect breakfast sandwich in a matter of moments. Always pair with the Anthora cup, and eat just one a day, and nothing else, for that “New York thin” look.
1. Stroopwafel – Ah, the humble stroopwafel. Part of the daily rhythm of life in the Netherlands, whose baristas think it's beyond cute (and a little strange) that their wafels are enjoying a bit of vogue these days in America. This owes a lot to the market presence of Rip van Wafels, a San Francisco-based stroopwafel purveyor whose product graces the shelves at Ritual Coffee and select Whole Foods.
We prefer our stroopwafels made fresh in the Albert Cuypstraat market in Amsterdam, or the Albert Heijn organic brand. What matters most is “the stroop droop” – when you place the wafel atop your coffee cup, does it start to soften up and curl over the edges? Does your wafel become infused with coffee aroma, or is it too chocked full of chemicals?